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Portaferry RNLI rescue lone sailor from grounded yacht off the County Down coast

Lifeboats News Release

It was an early alarm call for the volunteer Portaferry RNLI crew on Sunday 9 March.


Portaferry RNLI

They were part of a multi-agency response to a mayday call from a lone male sailor on board a 20-meter yacht which had become grounded on rocks at Phennick Point just outside Ardglass in County Down.

Already on scene was the All-Weather Lifeboat from Newcastle and the Newcastle Coastguard team.

In testing conditions, the man had become grounded on the rocks in rough seas with a three to four meter swell.

The wind was south westerly at four to five knots with a cloudy sky overhead and good visibility.

Due to the position of the casualty vessel on dangerous rocks and fishing gear in the area, the Newcastle RNLI crew on board the larger All-Weather Lifeboat were unable to get close enough to lift the man off the stricken yacht.

The volunteer RNLI crew from Portaferry on board the smaller Inshore Life Boat were able to manoeuvre their boat through the rocks and rough seas to eventually lift the man from the rocks into the lifeboat.

Once onboard, the volunteer crew proceeded with the man to Ardglass Marina where he was safely handed over to the Newcastle Coastguard team.

An Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter had also been requested earlier but later stood down.

The volunteer crew form Portaferry RNLI then departed the scene at 4.36am returning to their station 4.55am, ready for service at 5.20am.

Commenting on the early morning rescue, Simon Rogers, Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager had this to say, ‘In testing conditions, the hard work and dedication of all the agencies involved in this morning’s incident prevailed with a successful outcome. The volunteers from Newcastle and Portaferry RNLI, along with the Coastguard teams on scene worked well together to insure this man was returned safely to shore. Anyone who would like any information on safety on the water can find further details on our website


Photo: Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat the “Blue Peter V”

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Bernard Roddy, Portaferry RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer at or telephone Nuala McAloon, RNLI Press Officer Ireland on 00353876483547, email or Niamh Stephenson, RNLI Public Relations Manager Ireland on 00 353 87 1254 124 or

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland